Ducati takes an unprecedented step in WSBK: 1000 podiums
Spanish rider Alvaro Bautista started third in the Superbike World Championship race in Most, Czech Republic, last weekend, “making a decisive move on the two rivals in front of him halfway through the race”, and never looked back, earning his seventh WSBK win of the season.
The victory was much bigger than that, however. In addition to keeping Bautista leading the championship by 29 points, it was the 1000e Superbike World Championship podium for Ducati, on the Panigale V4 on which the Spaniard rode.
“The thousand podiums obtained by Ducati in WorldSBK represent a unique result never achieved by any manufacturer in any motorcycle discipline,” Ducati said in a statement after the race. “Manufacturer Borgo Panigale has written the history of the World Championship reserved for production machines, consistently playing the leading role with six generations of super sports bikes that have won a total of 383 victories.”
In MotoGP, Honda has 312 victories since claiming the first title in 1966, although total podium finishes are not listed. With these 312 victories, Honda has certainly already reached 1000 podiums, right? And Yamaha, with 245 wins, could also be close. Yamaha has 245 MotoGP victories, followed by MV Agusta, Suzuki and Ducati with 64.
By comparison, Ferrari has 787 F1 podiums from 1950 to 2022, McLaren has 494, Williams 313, Mercedes 266 and Red Bull 211. In NASCAR, Chevy got its 800e win last year when Chase Elliott won in Austin, but figuring out who has the most podiums (podia?) is a little harder. Having over 800 wins suggests Chevy has maybe three times as many podium finishes, which would beat Ducati, but WSBK has only been around for 34 years, compared to double for NASCAR. Likewise, NHRA podium stats aren’t easy to come by, but Chevrolet has 26 championship wins in seasons that typically had more than 20 races per year, tripled since there are three on a podium and… who knows? Ducati’s 1000 podiums are always a significant achievement.
World Superbike is perhaps a bit bigger than MotoGP as well, in that the bikes in competition are at least sort of based on production bikes, whereas MotoGP is like Formula 1, with next to nothing of this series found on a production anything. So for Ducati to step onto the podium so often in WSBK is perhaps a better reflection of the company’s street machines. Argue in the comments.
Ducati has competed in WorldSBK since the series began in 1988, when Duke rider Marco Lucchinelli won the series’ very first round at Donnington Park on an 851. From there, it was just two years before Ducati won. his first World Superbike Championship, when Raymond Roche won the title in 1990 on an 851. Doug Pollen went on to win two more championships.
“Ducati quickly became the most popular motorcycle on the starting grids of the World Championship, winning constructors’ titles in 1991, 1992 and 1993,” the company said in a statement commemorating the podium finishes. “The 1994 season marked the beginning of the era of Carl Fogarty and the Ducati 916, which won two consecutive seasons. In 1996, Troy Corser offered a sixth rider title to Ducati. In 1998 and 1999, “Foggy” – Carl Fogarty – won two more titles, becoming the winningest rider ever on Borgo Panigale Superbikes.
Next is the equally legendary Troy Bayless, who won three generations of Ducati superbikes: the 998, 999 and 1098. Neil Hodgson and James Toseland won two more titles and Carlos Checa won in 2011 on a 1198, the most recent World of the brand. Superbike Championship.
Ducati hasn’t missed an opportunity for promotion since Bautista’s last victory in the Czech Republic, because promotion is the very essence of motorsport: “The latest triumphs bear the hallmark of the Panigale V4. This motorcycle represents the most modern and visible embodiment of those principles of style, sophistication and performance that guide Ducati’s collective and daily commitment in a path that, through the 851, 916, 999, 1098 families , then the Panigale, led the manufacturer to write another important page in its racing history.
But since the 2011 championship, Ducati hasn’t won a WSBK title, instead watching Kawasaki, which has won seven of the last ten, and Yamaha, Suzuki and Aprilia taking top honors. But this season promises to be good for Borgo Panigale and a return to the top step of the podium, a position Ducati knows well.
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